Fighting For My Freedom

How To Get Your Criminal Sentence Suspended

If you receive a suspended sentence, it either means you don't have to serve any time in prison or you only have to serve a portion of it. Getting a suspended sentence isn't a constitutional right, but there are a few steps you can take to boost your chances of getting one. Here are three common routes of getting a suspended sentence:

Ask the judge

Any defendant, even those facing serious crimes, has the right to ask for a suspended sentence. However, it is the judge's prerogative to deny or acquiesce to the request. Therefore, the best thing you can do for your case is to make a request for it; you stand to gain a lot and have nothing to lose if your request is denied.

However, you should know that a mandatory minimum sentence cannot be suspended. For example, if you have been found guilty of possessing 100 grams of heroin, you have to spend at least five years in jail even if the judge is sympathetic to your pleas. In such a case, it only makes sense to request a suspended sentence if the court is determined to punish you with more than the mandatory minimum sentence,

Plea Bargain

Apart from making a direct plea to the judge, you may also get a suspended sentence via plea bargaining. Plea bargaining involves negotiating for an outcome of your case before you go to trial. It involves you "giving" the prosecutor something in return for a favorable outcome, such as a suspended sentence. For example, you may plead guilty to a reduced charge and relieve the prosecutor of the burden of proving your guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Even though the judge still has to approve your plea bargain agreement, your chances of success are good if you have reached a deal with the prosecutor.

Prove Mitigating Circumstances or Minimal Criminal History

Whether you plea bargain or make a direct request to the judge, you have to prove your case and convince the authorities that you aren't a danger to the society. This is necessary because courts are generally reluctant to award suspended sentences to violent criminals. You may also not be a candidate for a suspended sentence if you have an extensive criminal history.

For example, a teenager who shoplifted cough medicine for their sick and poor mother is more likely to get a suspended sentence than another teenager convicted for armed robbery. The differences in the two teenagers' chances of getting suspended sentences become even wider if the shoplifter has a clean criminal record and the armed robber has an extensive list of charges and convictions in their past.

Nobody has a right to receive a suspended sentence. You need to make your case (to the judge or persecutor) and show them how clean your criminal history is. Get a criminal lawyer's help to boost your chances of success; they are more experienced in dealing with such issues than you. Contact one from a company like The Law Offices Of Fischer And Putzi for more info.